Red Cross volunteer axed for marriage views loses appeal
Thu, 12 Feb 2015
The British Red Cross volunteer axed for opposing the redefinition of marriage has lost his appeal against the decision.
The charity upheld its original ruling to dismiss Bryan Barkley, a volunteer for over 18 years, for holding up a sign saying ‘No Same Sex Marriage’ in March of last year.
The Red Cross apologised for taking such a long time to deal with his case and for not following its own procedures, but refused to overturn the original decision.
The grandfather, married for over 40 years, was originally told in August 2014 that his opportunity to volunteer with the organisation had been withdrawn “permanently and with immediate effect”.
The Red Cross gave its reason as the incompatibility between Mr Barkley’s views on marriage and the Red Cross’ “fundamental principles and values”.
In the most recent letter confirming the appeal outcome, the organisation now refers to his stance as ‘political campaigning’. It also uses Mr Barkley’s criticism of how the Red Cross handled his case as new grounds for his dismissal.
Coalition for Marriage (C4M), an umbrella group of supporters of traditional marriage which has been backing Mr Barkley, described the decision as “very disappointing”. It also accused the Red Cross of ignoring “the thousands of people who have asked it to reassess how they treat volunteers who believe in traditional marriage”.
C4M told supporters that it had identified Red Cross volunteers who had used social media to support same-sex marriage and campaign for political parties.
A spokeman said: “We have written to Mike Adamson, the CEO of the British Red Cross, asking him whether he is now intending to dismiss the rest of his volunteers who express some sort of political opinion.
“This is a decision that should sound alarm bells for anyone working for the Red Cross who believes in freedom of speech, not least those who still believe that marriage is between a man and a woman”.
There are no further opportunities for Mr Barkley to appeal.